Fashion takes an innovative turn toward technology

Li Qian
Fashionistas, engineers and IT professionals shared their views on the ways fashion is going hi-tech in a workshop held at the Shanghai Science Hall.
Li Qian

Under the theme of “Allostery: Lighting Up the Life, Defining the Future," fashionistas, engineers and IT professionals shared their views on the ways fashion is going hi-tech in a workshop held at the Shanghai Science Hall — a warm-up to the first Shanghai International Technology Fashion Week.

According to fashion blogger Wenjun Lau, digital characters may take over to become the next fashion frontier, as the industry becomes more integrated with advanced technologies.

Lau thinks virtual idols —  incarnated imaginary characters — reflect the digital revolution, and that computer-generated characters of this sort will become increasingly popular.

Virtual idols such as Lil Miquela, tagged as a Brazilian-American model and singer with more than 2.9 million Instagram followers, her blond foil Bermuda and Bermuda’s ex-boyfriend Ronnie Blawko are all creations of the Los Angeles-based startup Brud.

British artist Cameron James Wilson has designed a diverse mix of digital models, including Shudu, Koffi and Brenn, all with the surname Gram.

There virtual celebrities have been used in promotions by a range of companies, such as advertising for luxury brands Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Fashion house Ralph&Russo created a digital muse called Hauli to present looks for its autumn/winter 2020 couture show.

China is also on board. IQiyi, a leading domestic streaming platform, recently launched "Dimension Nova," a talent show for virtual contestants.

“Virtual idols have great commercial value,” Lau said. “The power of technology is bringing more possibilities and prospects to the fashion industry.”

According to Sun Jianting from Chinese tech giant Huawei, technology companies are embracing the fashion world.

Huawei is integrating cutting-edge technology and high-end fashion in its digital devices, such as smart eyewear designed by South Korea's Gentle Monster and a special edition smart watch from Italian designer Barnaba Fornasetti.

A more “approachable” way (a function much closer to people), according to Sun, is augmented reality-based map services enabling people to take virtual tours of Shanghai’s bustling Nanjing Road E. and Dunhuang’s heritage-listed Mogao Grottoes.

Using Huawei mobile phones, people looking at Nanjing Road can see virtual neon-lit building signboards, swimming fish, flying petals and a dazzling display of fireworks on the Bund.

While in an immersive fantasy experience in Mogao Grottoes, users see figures on the murals come to life, with a hopping colored deer and dancing flying apsaras.

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